So I fell in love again, with a designer who makes the most sophisticated, yet sexiest, frocks I’ve ever laid eyes on! Seriously every single dress I saw was nothing short of gorgeous. The designer in question? Jenny Packham.
I’d already heard of Ms. Packham from her collection of evening wear, adorned by A-listers such as Angelina Jolie and Kate Middleton. I’ve always admired her work, her choices of silhouettes and fabrics lead to an end result which is nothing short of breathtaking.
I’d started researching the designers of my local bridal shops, as I found this to be the easiest way of w-dress research, there was no point falling in love with a designer if the nearest stockist was hundreds of miles away. There is a lovely bridal boutique called High Society, based in Cowbridge, just outside Cardiff, who stock higher end bridal gowns from so many designers, a few being; Alan Hannah, Suzanne Neville and of course Jenny Packham. I was thrilled to see JP listed on their site and even more excited once I clicked onto the bridal section of the JP website.
its all in the detail…
Her wedding gowns were everything I ever wanted! Lots of slinky silhouettes and cute capped sleeves. The gowns oozed luxury and many had a twenties, art deco feel. I honestly knew there and then that I was going to be a Jenny Packham bride. But there was a snag, the prices. Most JP gowns start from £1800 and the beautifully embellished ones (like in the picture above) start even higher. It’s understandable as they are made to measure, using 100% silk and with each bead or rhinestone painstakingly sewn on by hand. Typically the dresses I loved the most were also heavily embellished, (I’m such a magpie!) and were way out of my price range.
So I started scouting around the Internet on places such as Ebay and bridal forums, to see if anyone had a dress for sale. There were a few designs in particular that I kept an eye out for, but to be honest there was hardly any JP gowns that I didn’t like! As these dresses had normally been worn for just a few hours and often lovingly cherished and well cared for by their owners I didn’t mind buying second-hand. Also, I’d heard that lots of boutiques often held a sample sale or had discount days where you could get up to 20% off a dress for purchasing on the day. At this point, we still hadn’t booked a venue and I figured I’d have plenty of time to save some pennies and keep an eye out for a bargain.
Well, that time came a little quicker than expected. In early February, M and I had been looking at a few venues and had one in particular shortlisted with the idea that we would marry the following Spring, our favourite time of year. I planned to go dress shopping in the late Summer or Autumn, giving me an eight month wait until the big day. However, I was browsing Preloved when I saw it. The dream dress and the one at the top of my shortlist!
Without giving too much away, (as I want to keep the exact dress details back until after the wedding, in case a) my groom who knows this blog exists gets a bit bored one day and has a nose around, YES YOU! and b) so that I will have something to look forward to posting wise in case of the after wedding blues.) The dress captured everything I loved about Jenny Packham designs, plus it was reduced from £2500 to £900 as the style was being discontinued that March.
It was being sold in a sample sale in a bridal boutique, two hours away in the Pembrokeshire town of Narbeth. I was ecstatic, I knew Narbeth really well, as my family were originally from the area and only a few weeks before I had my nose pressed up against the window of this very bridal store; White Brides. It was a Sunday at Xmas and they were closed at the time, but their window display was so beautiful I remember thinking I would definitely make an appointment.
I mentioned the dress to my mum, who offered to go with me and have a look. She was so excited, it was lovely to see her like that! So I made the appointment. (I usually work weekends and that particular month I had one Saturday off, VERY unusual for me, it turns out the only appointment White Brides had left that week was on that day too! Fate?) So, off we set and the experience we had there was amazing from the word go. We had a two-hour appointment where the store closed just for my mum and I, which I was not expecting. I was encouraged to try on as many dresses and styles as I wanted and was given honest advice from the lovely assistant Ali. We were made to feel really welcome, and I am so pleased that they made the experience a special one, which neither my mum nor I will forget. Needless to say I bought the dress, there and then, it was even the first one I tried on! Even if I didn’t buy that particular dress I would have still bought from White Bride and I strongly urge fellow brides in the vicinity to make an appointment, as they truly were outstanding. (Not often we hear that about shops these days!)
For me the only sad part of actually picking a wedding dress, is the realisation that I’ll probably never get a chance to wear any of the other styles. Unless we make like Heidi and Seal (pre-separation) and renew our vows every year?! Well, a girl can dream right?